I have felt a particularly natural lead from God to eviscerate the quality of loyalty. I have felt to compel understanding of its many components from numerous angles, and present the host of areas this understanding can be practically applied.
In doing so, I have been sensitive to His voice, His lead, and His complete perspective. It has been my earnest intent to capture all of His detail.
Personally, I have been refreshed and convicted by the insight God has fanned as I’ve avidly typed away on my keyboard, all the while trying to avoid the writer’s arched back posture.
Below is a snippet of what has been compiled so far. It focuses on the book of Genesis.
God’s Excellence in Loyalty
It took six days for Amazing to create the world. He rested on the seventh. Each stroke of his masterpiece had to meticulously reflect His blueprint. The standard at all times had to mirror the utmost, good, before He progressed in realizing the next day.
We can perceive God was loyal to His project. In being Loyal, He showed thoroughness in the execution of His vision. At all times, His efforts attained to the highest standard.
Now, apply these attributes to your life. Are you being thorough in the areas you have committed to? To your job? Your spouse? A friend? A project? Is your output in these areas attaining to excellence? Allow yourself to be challenged in these respects. Yes, there may be particular facts that could qualify the stated position. For example, we may be phasing out of a job, or a relationship has reached a season of closure. But during periods where the “sun has not yet set”, we should be sure to continually strive to produce our maximum capacity. Indeed, this attitude that is akin to God’s nature. It is this attitude that he blesses. He is obliged to show up to affirm and multiply our offering. The little boy gave his best with the 5 loaves and two fishes, and didn’t Christ duly honour it (Matthew 14)? . Conversely, the rich man held back his wealth in pursuing the Kingdom (Mark 10), which caused the decapitation of his destiny. Further still, it is the giving of our best intentions that unlocks His flow of grace to cover our deficiencies.
Let’s perceive the deliberate use of the word “offering”. We must understand this is what our demonstration of loyalty ultimately is. Yes, our offering goes beyond our giving and singing in church. It encompasses how we are and what we do on a day to day basis. Our bodies are temples (1 Corinthians 16: 19-20) through which worship, part of which offering is, is given continually. Having already established the nature of God, we can reiterate that our offering should aspire to be the sweetest aroma, one that compels God’s attention. It should mirror the best intentions of Abel’s offering, Abraham’s offerings and David’s offerings. It should purpose to steer away from incomplete Cain-like and Saul-like intentions.
Further, as popularly illustrated by Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice Isaac, we see that utmost respect of God, borne from appreciation of His sovereignty, is a necessary component in inspiring us to give Him our best (Genesis 22). This attitude paves the overflow of His blessing for you.
The “Serpent’s Voice”
So why weren’t Adam and Eve loyal to The Most High’s command to not eat from the tree of knowledge? The “serpent’s voice” can be the factor that causes our commitment to falter. People in our lives and habits we engage can represent this voice. We need to maintain sensitivity and divine awareness to sense the areas in our lives where this voice is manifesting. This is important in our efforts to remain eligible to receive the fullness of what God has for us, avoiding the sacrifice that comes with disobedience. Standing steadfastly on God’s word, continually reminding ourselves of its absoluteness, will give us the strength to resist the serpent’s enticing tongue and remain loyal to God’s word and the other areas we have committed to.
Loyalty to Your Definition
Pure Diamond punished Adam and Eve for eating the fruit by, amongst other things, exiling them from Eden and introducing mortality in man. Additionally, he sent the flood to eradicate man from the face of the earth (bar Noah and his family) because of mans’ treachery. Further, He orchestrated the rain of sulfur and fire that destroyed the “greatly wicked” lands of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). From this, we see God’s loyalty to His own nature. Because God’s nature is just, He must issue recompense for sin. This maintains His definition. This is utmost integrity. In our endeavor to conform to characteristics of God, we too must seek to maintain our definition. As individuals, we must be aware of qualities and principles we attain to. Our conduct must always gear to reinforce these. This is how we show loyalty to ourselves and bestow indisputable credibility on what we are about.
Indeed, in God’s preservation of Noah and his family, we see the sensitive nature of His application of loyalty. God is not general. He does not broad-brush. He is correct in his measurement, proportioning every subject the deserved due. In exacting His nature, God did not condemn Noah and His clan. Rather, God preserved Noah because he was faithful. His intentions were best inclined, and God must honour that. So, let our display emanate the same.
“God remembered Noah and all the beast and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided” (Genesis 8:1). Almighty remembered Abraham and spared Lot from the destruction that befell Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:29). Clearly these verses aver remembrance as characteristic of loyalty. Yes, significant time may elapse after the original position. And what was once the emphasized point may have become subdued by subsequent details and turn of events. But God’s demonstration of loyalty shows that He does not forget. He is a thoughtful God. His word does not come back void. Rather, it is followed through to completion. Do we maintain thoughtfulness in the midst of an unraveling situation? Do we forego the convenience of making excuses and keep our word? It is God’s standard that we should imitate.
Sensitivity Facilitates Loyalty
Our loyalty to El Olam means we maintain sensitivity to him. We maintain a perceptiveness of His will. His swaying. His nudge. Discernibly, Essau lacked these attributes. His red-blooded impulses and subservience to self-will subdued his sensitivity to the Most High, and unintentionally caused him to forfeit his birthright. We need to be aware of areas in our lives where our flesh suppresses the nudging of the most high. Could this be a relationship? Activities we engage in? Insidious habit? Gluttony? Rebelliousness? Indeed, as we see from Essau, we may need to sacrifice the moment to receive the fullness of our tomorrow. We need to chase Christ, hand stretched utmost to clasp His garment, as he molds our hearts to stand firmly by Him. This will enable the realization of our reward.
Perceivably, Jacob conformed to the above approach. This made him sensitive to synchronise with God, moving when He said move. Staying when He said stay. Treading softly when He said to tread softly… In Genesis 31 Jacob’s sensitivity readied him to note God’s nudge to leave Laban, a relationship he had been loyal to. Indeed, we see throughout the Bible support for the truism: “relationships have seasons”. So we need to understand our demonstration of loyalty can be qualified by this, and open ourselves to the new season our loyalty should be applied.
Effortlessness Spawned from Utmost Sensitivity to God
The more potent our sense of The Rock, the easier it is for us to be bless others. This is shown by Abraham offering Lot first choice of lands to possess, which, given how well watered certain parts were, could have been viewed to put Abraham at an immediate disadvantage (Genesis 13). Abraham’s vivid sensation of God’s loyalty to him clearly came from his complete submission to God’s will, and the depth of relationship with Him this spawned. Indeed, this inspires an assuredness, a peace that surpasses all understanding that makes one effortless in giving. Deeper, like Jacob with Laban, it causes us to regard the blessings of third parties as evidence of our coordination with the Most High (Genesis 30). The relationship instills the impenetrable sense of ones promise in God that quells any potential outlet of strife. So lets completely submit to God. Lets rest our heart in His will. He will then be obliged to completely meet us, spectacularly fulfilling His promise for us, all the while investing the seeds in us to give Him the sweetest worship.
Exhortation of the Most High
Abraham’s loyalty to Elohay Yishi made him strongly inclined to honour and glorify God. His heart was set to bend every situation at his handling to further project the reality and magnitude of God. He rejected the King of Sodom’s gifts partly to achieve this end (Genesis 13). Our conversations should seek to yield utterances that exalt His holy name. Our plans must elevate our King. Everything we do must boomerang back around to pronounce his complete sovereignty.
Impatience can be the chink that causes a loyal display to falter and, subsequently, lead to regrettable results. Abraham’s impatience caused him to submit to Sarah’s will in impregnating Hagar, her concubine, the child of which compromised Abraham’s inheritance and introduced the strife that wrestles Israel to this day. We are all susceptible to vulnerable moments that test our loyal resolve. But our best intentions must spur us to resist. Then God’s grace will meet us and safely guide us through. Continually reminding ourselves of the promises God has already fulfilled as well as what He is yet to fulfill will put us in good stead against the impulse of impatience. So too will the maintenance of a consistently thankful attitude.
Loyalty to the wrong cause can result in our downfall. Despite being warned otherwise, Lot’s cohort maintained their connection to Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot’s wife looked back and, because of this, was turned into salt (Genesis 19). Indeed, a warning, whether this be an explicit enunciation or a deliberate inner feeling, will always alert us to potential pitfalls. Our conviction in the reality and sovereignty of Christ, in conjunction with the realization that He holds our best interest, should immediately inspire us to break harmful chains of loyalty.
Royalty from Loyalty
As part of the reward of a loyal display to God, we share company in His great appraisal. We are identified as His family. His own. We are his “princes” (Genesis 23), like Isaac marked “blessed of the Lord” (Genesis 24). We share in His regality, being adorned in His unmistakable royal robes, entitled to an everlasting stream of favour. What a privilege! This illustrious affirmation of who we are should further encourage us to stay with Him. Why would we leave the palace?
Loyalty inspires the making of further promises. It catalyses the strengthening of commitment ties. We see this in Genesis 28, when Jacob poured oil upon the rock and enunciated a vow of total allegiance to God. Indeed, such behavior should be a corollary to the total commitment Christ sets to give us. Before Jacob’s enunciation, God had revealed the splendor of His promise to him in a dream. Surely, we’d want to seal in matrimony the promise of splendor! Tie down and consolidate the promises Supreme has revealed to you.
Fortitude the By-product
Loyalty to a cause equips us with fortitude, driving us to go the extra miles if necessary. We see this in Jacob’s undertaking of an extra seven years of servitude to Laban for the granting of his heart’s desire: Rachel. The fact of the matter is if we really want something, we go out and get it. We “wrestle” for it (Genesis 32). There are countless motivational books that explore this poignantly true maxim. We learn to be disciplined, check our emotions, measure our output and employ an ethic that will eventually fruit in the realisation of our goal.
We can of course isolate the specific example of loyaly in love from Jacob’s situation. Love is enduring, a far cry from the “throw away” culture of today’s society. Love grants us a juxtaposed fiery will and effortlessness, soundly sailing us to the other side of tumultuous waters.
The peace and blessing that follows our loyalty to El Emet can frustrate onlookers. It can move them to want to inflict this frustration on us by means of control. We see this through Laban’s behavior towards Jacob. Laban had used Jacob’s desire of Rachel to control him. The peace and blessing can move onlookers to inject strife into our experiences. On several occasions, Laban had cheated Jacob on what was due to him. He had reneged on promises made, made false accusations, manipulated, and contrived situations to disadvantage Jacob (specifically, when they were splitting their property in Genesis 30 and 31). Such responses are obviously unpleasant. Indeed, as already highlighted, perhaps this may be a sign for us to move. But note that we should draw encouragement from these experiences, noting affirmation of our blessing flowing from a loyal relationship with God. As Paul declares, “count it all joy” (James 1).
I want to provide a slight slant on the above section. From Laban and Jacob’s relationship, maturity causes us to underline the presence of frustration in a relationship as not an automatic reason to retract loyalty. In every relationship, there will be times / elements of strife. Jacob’s sons strived with him (Genesis 34 & 35). Joseph’s brother’s strived with him. It is for us to understand this as natural, and continue giving. Jacob did so, with all his strength (Genesis 31) for 20 years (Genesis 31), only finally parting Laban when God directed. And note, when he did part, he did so cordially. He did so with dignity and respect. God can give us the grace to do likewise.
The projection of your blessing may cause some around you to be disloyal. This may stem from jealousy. The selling of Joseph by his brothers is a one of the most propagated examples of this (Genesis 37). What we project in Christ can be grand, to the point where it overwhelms others with their own inadequacies and tasks them to try and disrupt our process. But we draw peaceful understanding from God. Further, personally, I take from Jospeh’s process the lesson to be more sensitive in my announcements, perhaps to discern it best not to make the announcement in the first place. Also, in my blessing, I would look to exhort others.
Favour and Attraction
As with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph’s journey shows favour derivative from loyalty to God will attract others. Potipher wanted Joseph close to him primarily because of this (Genesis 39:4-6). As mentioned in earlier section, this is to be expected, and celebrated as affirming evidence of our favour. But lets keep our eyes open, and maintain the objective understanding of this reality. Doing this will protect our value –our royalty – in our dealing with others.
Boundaries and Position
We should be aware of the boundaries we are operating in to give integrity to our loyalty. Joseph was loyal to his title of being the office keeper to Potipher. He showed keen awareness of his scope of office, noting he must not over familiarize himself to Potipher’s wife, articulating this in his refusal of her pleas to lay with her (Genesis 39). We too should have an acute sense of our boundaries, verbally declaring this for reinforcement if necessary. Such a deliberate display of strong intentions allows God’s grace to meet us and prevent us from falling.
Moreover, espousing the above approach with a keenness to remember the benefits of our position exacts a stronger prompt to maintain loyalty in it. Joseph kept in mind that it was due to Potipher’s trust that power and credentials had been granted him. So he understood and had the visceral sense that it would be ill advised to forego these benefits for disloyal engagement. Let’s keep in mind our blessing, and by doing so become further incentivized to stay rooted (Genesis 39).
Faithfulness in the Furnace
Omniscient always remains loyal to those who accept Him. His faithfulness abounds, even in the midst of trying periods. David was given reverence in the pit, put in charge of all prisoners in the pit (Genesis 39). But that is not to dismiss the inherent difficulty of the trying period. And Joseph was made to endure. Indeed, we may feel sensed to challenge God, questioning the necessity of the period in the first place. We may ask: if we have showed best intentions in showing loyalty to God, is the period even justified? What is clear, however, is God’s subjecting of us to trying periods is not absent of His love. Christ was feverously interceding on Joseph’s behalf, just as He does for us. It is part of His necessary process for us, my friends, after which will detail the undeniable proof of His greatness and glory. We extol your name Lord.
There is a link between loyalty and reconciliation. In season, the heart should be open to cultivate a relationship again. We see this truth when Joseph reencounters his brothers purposing to buy grain from him during the great famine (Genesis 42). Joseph’s heart inclined towards his brothers. He was gracious, providing them with extra provisions, placing them in comfort, finally revealing himself to them with unconditional acceptance. Joseph’s faithfulness to God activated His grace to cultivate his heart, exhibiting a standard that runs contrary to the worlds. We see the same for Jacob in his relationship with Laban.
Yet we can note Joseph’s inner confliction and frustrations at his brother’s wrong when he encountered them again. He spoke roughly with them and contrived false accusations against them, albeit partly with the intention of testing their integrity. Jacob was similar, angry at Laban and berated him (Genesis 31:36). But this all attests to the power of the Most High’s grace in subduing natural tendencies and instead, causing us to demonstrate the divine example. Further, Joseph and Jacob had clearly been justified anyway. Their favour and blessing were incontestable statements of this. So, look up, my friends, and see your fruits from God, who has advocated the winning arguments on your behalf.
By Matthew King
Book, exploring loyalty throughout the whole Bible, to be released later this year. Actual date to be specified on BKIM website.